"Just" Decoration

Textures PurposeAlicia VelazquezComment

While working in restaurant Fortissimo interior design concept, I proposed two material installations to be part of its spatial branding. One of them was a double "SS" (from the restaurant's name) made out of cutlery to appear on two of the entrance walls. 

While my client Paula Rosales is very open to creating an emotional design experience for our customers, I have heard a few times during our meetings - both with her team and our client - "yes it's nice, but what is that for? It's just decoration."

Our client didn't want to do it. "Just decoration" didn't speak to them. And, honestly, it seldom speaks to architects either. 

Why not? Why are we so reluctant to incorporate visual bliss? Isn't that enough "function"? 

Don't we put flowers on our table? Wear a necklace or ring? We don't really say we are "just decorating" our bodies. Because those things helps us express our personality, colorfulness (or lack of it) and a sense of being. Beyond what our body needs to "function"

I choose to decorate. Decoration is just. It's just to have soulful information. Just to own identity. Just to experience visual and tactile information that my intelligence - physical and mental - justly needs to survive. 

Do you also get the chills thinking about "just" decoration? What kind of reactions does it arise for you? O perhaps have you been in a situation like mine, being yourself "just decoration" promoter - or antagonist?

I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. 

Feeling Food in the heart of Madrid

NewsAlicia VelazquezComment

"El Huerto de Lucas" (Lucas's Vegetable Garden) opens! 

It is an ecological market and cantina. Paula Rosales and her team more&co have completed the interior renovation of an old bread factory using biohealthy design, architecture and construction. I have complemented their project from the emotions, creating an interior experience for the brand which invites to feel good

What is biohealthy design? And how is it related to emotions?

We understand biohealthy as the combination of health and balance. The market is built using toxic-free, natural materials. Healthier for our body, plus better for the environment. The "Huerto" is more than a commercial space: a place to learn how to live healthier, and an inviting meeting point.

My contribution to the design has been to take our client's brief - their emotional goal- of building a familiar atmosphere, like a living room or flea market. And, hand in hand with the architecture team, select each material and detail to meet that experience. Simultaneously responding to the biohealthy and economical conditions. 

At every scale, each decision taken and each material selected seeks to create a warmhonest and welcoming market, as the products you can buy and consume. A contemporary space with a quotidian flavor which we like to call "supernormal".

Next to sensations, each design decision responds to various functions. For example, each stall is covered with a fabric awning. We chose fabric because it gives the feeling of a flea market and it's a gentle material. And it has an excellent acoustic behavior, both outside and inside the stall, it serves as hot/cold air diffuser, it provides a human scale, and it the turns into a giant lamp at night.

One of our first decisions when we visited the space was to liberate the center of the market. It feels like a public square, able to hold any setting both for daily stay and for eventful evenings. In this center hangs a plant installation by artist Jerónimo Hagerman. We loved from the beginning how it performs both the functional and emotional, which we have searched for in every scale of the project. This type of plants (malas madres or "bad mothers") are air purifiers, they bring freshness and humidity, shade on sunny days, they break sound bouncing and can be moved up and down: each day the market features a different garden.

Our client is especially demanding with physical health. We carefully chose toxic-free and scent-free materials. Paula Rosales incorporated the company D-fine to our team, specialized in sustainability strategies. D-fine studied each material using three criteria: economy, chemical composition (before and after its placement) and environmental impact. If you are interested in knowing more about this part, You can read Paula's post (in Spanish) by clicking here.

I'd love to hear from you: have you been in a biohealthy space? Or designed one? What are the main things which made you feel good in it? What are the three things that, in your opinion, mark the difference of being in emotionally healthy space? Let me know in the comments below.